Meet #TeamCheshire

#TeamCheshire is made up of Team Leaders, Subject Matter Specialists, Advisers and Team Members, including 10 District Commissioner who manage Scouting across the County. To see our Board of Trustees Click Here. If you’d like to request a visit from any of Team Cheshire, you can do so here.


Dave Hopley
County Commissioner

Dave has been a member of The Scouts since the age of six. He started his adult leadership journey as Assistant Scout Leader at 1st Over St Johns in Winsford, shortly after gaining his Queen’s Scout Award. He was appointed as Assistant County Commissioner (Scouts) in 2007, having volunteered on the National Scout section support team since 2004. In 2011 he became Deputy County Commissioner, a role has held ever since. Dave has been instrumental in driving youth engagement in Cheshire and was a Cheshire Unit Leader to the World Scout Jamboree in Japan.

Professionally, Dave is Executive Director of Student and Digital Services for Stoke on Trent College. Outside of work and Scouts, you can find Dave running, walking, spending time with his family and friends, as well as skiing and travelling.

Will Burnham
District Commissioner, Alderley
Alan Wilding
District Commissioner, Chester
Richie Thornley
District Commissioner, Ellesmere Port & Neston
Neil McAleece
District Commissioner, Knutsford
Mike Brown
District Commissioner, Macclesfield & Congleton
Oliver Chambers
District Commissioner, Mersey Weaver

I’m currently the District Commissioner for Mersey Weaver – a role that I’ve held since 2018. Although I was Beaver, Cub, Scout and Explorer in my youth; my journey as an adult volunteer with The Scouts only startedin 2014 when I somehow was convinced to take on the Scout Section Leader role for 4th Frodsham after moving back to the area and being invited to a group BBQ!

Scouting very quickly (once again) became an very important aspect of my life as I saw the the impact first hand we can all have on shaping young people’s lives. I’ve also reflected on how it has given me strong set of values and taught me empathy, equipped me with the courage to step out into the unknown, take calculated risks, a penchant to try new things as well as my love for the outdoors.

I’ve been extremely lucky to have had so many amazing experiences through Scouts and in the short time I have been involved as an adult volunteer, have had all sort of adventures both in the UK as well as abroad, meeting some amazing people (both young and old) along the way.

I believe in offering every young person, no matter their background or circumstances all that Scouts have to offer and I am so proud to Scout in Cheshire where there is a such a rich heritage of high quality programming for us all to build on.

Darren Gorst
District Commissioner, Mid Cheshire

Darren has worked as a Project, People and Business Management Professional at IBM / Kyndryl for almost 25 years, managing complex projects and solutions for major global organisations across both financial, governmental, and industrial sectors.


Darren began in Scouting as a Cub aged 8 and after moving through all sections held several adult appointments, starting as a Cub leader with his first Scout Group 8th Northwich. After a short break away from Scouting to start a family, Darren returned as an Assistant Explorer Scout Leader at Forlorn Hope Explorer Scout Unit & Scout Leader at 2nd Wharton and has since held the position of Group Scout Leader, building a thriving and successful Group with his team before moving into his most recent role as Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts.


Over the years, Darren has been involved in many Scouting events, as part of the successful Cheshire Scouts Events Team and has headed up the Security & Traffic Management Team for Chamboree.


Outside of Scouting, Darren is a qualified Mental Health First Aider, self-confessed computer geek, has been known to spend time enjoying the wild camping features of Milldale with his Explorer Scouts and is an avid Manchester United supporter.

Ian Potts
District Commissioner, South West Cheshire
Lisa Grady
District Commissioner, Warrington East

Lisa works at the University of Manchester as the Compliance and Risk Manager for Biological Sciences, having gained years of experience working in Scientific Research and in Technical Operations for the higher education sector.

Lisa was heavily involved in girl guiding in her younger years and joined Scouting in 2016 helping at her son’s Beaver group. Lisa moved on to be a Cub leader building up a Cub section within Warrington East as well as helping out as an assistant Scout leader and providing support to various groups across the district. Lisa was a member of the Warrington East Eurojam 2020 unit and has supported the district in many fundraising events for both Worldjam and Eurojam.

More recently she has provided health and safety guidance and support to groups across the district and has been an active member of the COVID return risk assessment panel.

In her spare time she can be found most Saturday and Sunday mornings at the side of a muddy football pitch cheering on her two sons. Lisa spends time with her boys enjoying the outdoor adventures, lots of bike riding and can be often found at the Warrington ground cheering on the Warrington Wolves.

Debbie Phillips
District Commissioner, Warrington West


Graham Proctor
Deputy County Commissioner for Programme

Graham is originally from Edinburgh where he was a member of every Scout section. Since moving to the North West of England in 2011, Graham has been an Assistant Scout & Explorer Leader in Sandbach and has most recently been the Explorer Scout Commissioner for Cheshire Scouts. He is also the Artistic Director of Crewe Gang Show where he is responsible for leading the creative production team.

Professionally, Graham is a percussionist, musical director and music teacher. He specialises in Brazilian Samba bateria drumming since studying in Rio de Janeiro, Locally, Graham teaches world percussion classes and workshops across several primary and secondary schools in Cheshire and performs regularly as a founding member of the Manchester International Roots Orchestra.

Ruth Clemson
Assistant County Commissioner (Section Support) - Beaver Scouts

Ruth coordinates groups for adults with a learning disability and/or autism for a charity based in Merseyside. In Scouting Ruth has been a Beaver Leader for 12 years and more recently has taken on an additional role of Assistant Explorer Leader (Young Leaders) Outside of work and Scouting, you can find Ruth watching her local rugby league team St Helens or meeting friends for dinner.

Pam Owen
Assistant County Commissioner (Section Support) - Cub Scouts

Pam’s role is to ensure that effective operation of the Cub Scout Section.

Charly O’Brien
Assistant County Commissioner (Section Support) - Scouts

Charly is a Gymnastics Trampoline Coach, training children from 6 to 18 years in both competitive and recreational settings. She has been involved with scouting all her life however her most recent role has been District Youth Commissioner in Alderley District. When not Scouting Charly enjoys meeting with friends, hiking, climbing, horse riding and kayaking!

Amelia Riley
Assistant County Commissioner (Section Support) - Explorer Scouts

Outside of Scouting, Amelia is Second in Department teaching Modern Foreign Languages (Spanish/French/German) in a high school. Having only started Scouting herself at the age of 10, her leadership journey began as a Cub Leader with a pack in Lancashire whilst at University. She then continued this journey on her year abroad in Spain, volunteering as a leader with a local Cub pack whilst practising her Spanish at the same time. Upon returning home after graduation Amelia took over running her local Explorer Scout Unit, and in 2019 was part of the leadership team that led one of the Cheshire Units to the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia. When she is not Scouting/teaching/sleeping, Amelia can be found on various hockey pitches across the North West playing hockey for her local team.

Ian Turnbull
Assistant County Commissioner (Section Support) - Scout Network

Ian’s role is to ensure that effective operation of the Scout Network Section.

Carol Frain
Assistant County Commissioner - Top Awards

Carol works as the Supporter Care and Lottery Manager in the Fundraising team at East Cheshire Hospice, supporting the team to raise £8,000 each day to keep the Hospice open. Carol has been in Scouting for over 40 years, starting as a Cub instructor whilst working towards her Queen’s Guide Award. Weird but true, she also lived at Baden Powell House for the first two years of her degree at London University! When she and her husband moved to Mobberley, they answered an advert in the parish news to donate a cooker to the newly built local scout and guide hut. The reply was “we already have a cooker thank you but we don’t have a Beaver leader”. The rest, as they say, is history leading eventually to her finding her “happy place” supporting Cheshire Scouts achieve their DofE and QSA awards. Away from scouting Carol enjoys spending time with her family, baking and walking.

Diane Blurton
County Young Leader Leader
Emma Williams
County Young Leader Leader


Val Thomason
Deputy County Commissioner for People

Val is now retired, but previously worked in adult training at a local college. Having started her Scouting life as an ACSL with 1st Moore, she has held various roles until becoming Deputy County Commissioner in 2007. Outside of Scouting, Val enjoys walking, gardening and is the Chair of a local flower club.

Debbie Phillips
County Training Manager

Debbie’s role is to manage of all aspects of the training / learning process for adults within the County.

Roger Owens
Scout Active Support Manager

Roger’s role is to ensure the effective operation of Scout Active Support Units across the County.

Graham Shaw
Assistant County Commissioner International

Graham’s role is to promote an international dimension in the youth programme within the County

Hugh Cunning
Assistant County Commissioner - Activities

Hugh’s role is to work in partnership with leaders in the County to support the safe provision of activities.

Nigel Flatman
Assistant County Commissioner - Events

Nigel is a Logistics Director with many years’ experience in Food Logistics, systems and processes.

A member of the movement since the age of eight, Nigel has since been a member of the County team for a number of years starting as Assistant County Commissioner (Venture Scouts) before moving into Events, running Site Operations for the last four Chamboree’s and supporting many County events and projects. Outside Scouting he enjoys, kayaking, caravanning and is a keen DIY enthusiast.

John Bennett
County Safety Adviser

John is a retired police officer and company director with many years of experience in the world of safety. Once a Cub and Scout in Buckinghamshire, John moved north becoming a warranted leader in South West Cheshire in the 1970’s. John is cuurrently the GSL with Wistaston Scouts (35th SWC) as well as District Secretary for South West Cheshire, Cheshire Hike and Chamboree’s Director of Safety, and also holds involvement in Crewe Gang Show.

In the non-Scouting world John enjoys foreign travel, as well as spending time with his Golden Retriever. In between this, he is a sports fan, with rugby, soccer, and cricket being the favourites.

Laura Dyer
County Safety Safeguarding Adviser

Laura has been a primary school teacher for over 10 years. She has been part of Scouting since the age of 16 when she was an Explorer Scout. She has held the role of ABSL at her local group alongside various other Scouting roles at District and County level. Outside of Scouting, Laura spends time with her young family and enjoys being outside on mini adventures with them.


Andrew Little
Deputy County Commissioner for Perception

Andrew works with the Youth Federation as part of the Pledge team inspiring the next generation of young people offering quality experiences with employers across Cheshire. He joined Scouting as a Cub and has held roles as a Cub leader, ADC Cubs and District Commissioner as well as being involved in large scale events since turning 18. With his wife Denise they enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities.

John Duley
Assistant County Commissioner - Growth & Development

John retired having spent some 40 years working in telecommunications.

His scouting life started as a cub, scout and leader in Hertfordshire and progressed via Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and now Cheshire. During this time he has held roles at group, district and county levels including the county commissioner role in Bedfordshire

Outside of Scouting he enjoys attending football matches as a supporter of Manchester United. He also is involved with various roles within the Methodist Church.

Alex Dodd
County Youth Commissioner

Alex is an electrical technician by day, working for a local engineering company. He leads Scouts and Explorers in Chester & District, and has held these roles since he was 18.

Outside of work and Scouting, you can find Alex enjoying the outdoors: running, cycling or swimming.

Joe Fuller
Deputy County Youth Commissioner
David Metcalfe
Assistant County Commissioner - Inclusion & Diversity

David has been a lecturer in policing at the University of Chester, for the past 8 years following a career in Cheshire Police. He has been involved in Scouting as a Cub Scout, Scout, Venture Scout, ADC and DC in Knutsford, and then County Campsite Manager.

In his spare time David likes to be out travelling the UK and Europe on his motorbike.

Paul Brown
Assistant County Commissioner - Community Impact

Paul has been a member of Scouting since joining the Scout Section back when he was 12 years old. While still in Venture Scouts, he became a leader within the Beaver Scout Section at 18. Since then he has been involved in the Service team for a number of Chamborees, numerous Gang shows, held the role of ACC (Beaver Scouts) and until Summer last year was District Commissioner for Warrington East for 7 years. Outside of Scouting currently earns a living as a Project Manager in the Nuclear Industry, having gained years of experience through out civil engineering in the Waterway, Rail and Highways Sectors. In his spare time after retiring from playing football, he can be found most weeks flogging a ball around a Golf Course, on a rugby league terrace supporting Warrington Wolves or in the garage tinkering with classic cars.

Josh Diamond
Assistant County Commissioner - Communications

Josh leads a Cheshire-based marketing agency by day, having started his career in web development, and holds a wealth of experience across everything digital. Having taken part in all sections of Scouting from Beavers through to Explorers, Josh has held a Cub Scout Leader role since the age of 18. Outside of work and Scouting, you can find Josh exploring the outdoors with his two dogs, whether it’s walking a mountain or kayaking down a river.

Paul Cook
Media Development Manager

Paul’s role is to continue to improve the public image of Scouting in Cheshire.

Staff Team

Cathy Bland
County Administrator

A former Brownie and Guide, Cathy’s Scouting career started nearly 25 years ago. Her roles have been in all sections (Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers) and include Group Scout Leader, Assistant District Commissioner, Assistant County Commissioner, Local Training Manager and County Active Supporter. She is best known as “Cathy from Cubs” although currently is running a fledgling Scout Troop.

Having qualified in Foreign Correspondence specialising in French, Russian and Spanish, her working career started off in London before moving abroad to cover export sales markets.

In tandem with her voluntary roles, Cathy is a part-time paid employee of Cheshire Scouts. For almost 18 years she has run the busy County Office which is now virtual. She is renowned for her cheerful disposition and service with a megawatt smile.

When not working, Cathy is Scouting or actively involved in the local community. Not many people know she excels at growing stunning hollyhocks. If she doesn’t pick up her mobile, text her as she’s either in Barcelona (travel permitting) practising her Catalan or eating Colombian coffee flavoured icecream from the tub!

Deb Arden
Activity Centres Administrator

People: Training

Alan Jackson
Local Training Manager (Alderley)
Richard Johnson
Local Training Manager (Chester and Ellesmere Port & Neston)/Deputy CTM
Trudy Beech
Local Training Manager (Knutsford)
Mike Brown
Local Training Manager (Macclesfield & Congleton)
Emma Cummings
Local Training Manager (Mersey Weaver)
Lucy Chapman-Coward
Local Training Manager (Mersey Weaver)
Tim Owen
Local Training Manager/Deputy CTM
Jill Taylor
Local Training Manager (South West Cheshire)
Jon Davies
Local Training Manager (Warrington East)
Dave Anwyl
Local Training Manager (Warrington West)
Mary Wynne
Deputy CTM

People: Scout Active Support Co-ordinators

Dave Duckett
Event Support SASU Co-ordinator
Nigel Flatman
First Aid SASU Co-ordinator
Hugh Cunning
Adventurous/Field Activities SASU Co-ordinator
Graham Smith
Faiths & Beliefs SASU Co-ordinator (Acting)
Cathy Bland
Member Support SASU Co-ordinator
Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls